Valery Gergiev Responds to Gay Rights Protests

Thursday, November 07, 2013 - 11:00 AM

Valery Gergiev conducts the Mariinsky Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. (Melanie Burford/NPR)

After remaining largely silent to protests by gay rights advocates, the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev issued a statement on Wednesday seeking to clarify his views on his country's controversial legislation on homosexuality.

Gergiev, the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and director of the Mariinsky Theater in Russia, has drawn protests in New York and London this fall over his close ties to Vladimir Putin. The conductor actively campaigned for Putin's reelection and recently, he was awarded the Hero of Labor medal by the Russian president. Activists have demanded that Gergiev speak out about Russia's laws prohibiting the public discussion of homosexuality, which were enacted earlier this year.

The most recent protest came last Friday when a gay-rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, stepped onto the stage of the Barbican Center in London and denounced the conductor. Another protest is planned for Thursday at the hall, where Gergiev will conduct the London Symphony in a performance of Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust.

"I am aware of the gay rights protest that took place at the Barbican last week prior to my concert with the LSO," Gergiev said on his Facebook page. "I have said before that I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done, and as head of the Mariinsky Theatre this is our policy."

"It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation and in all my work I have upheld equal rights for all people. I am an artist and have for over three decades worked with tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries from all walks of life and many of them are indeed my friends.

"I collaborate with and support all my colleagues in the endeavor for music and art. This is my focus as a conductor, musician, artist and as artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre and principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra."

The protests against Gergiev began when he conducted the opening-night gala performance of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at the Metropolitan Opera in September and continued when he led the Mariinsky Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. (The Mariinsky Theater is also home to a ballet company and opera house, all of which receive state support.) 

In an e-mail on Thursday, Andrew Rudin, a New Jersey composer who started an online petition prior to the Met's opening night, lauded the "rather welcome news that our objections have finally penetrated to Mr. Gergiev."

Gergiev's statement comes as music critics have been examining the conductor's views and calling for a boycott of his concerts. The London Symphony Orchestra, which has also been criticized, appeared to distance itself from Gergiev on Twitter.

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Comments [37]

Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Velvet, It is good to know someone else reads this from my town, if you are really from Front Royal.
If you are why not use your real name, as I do, I would be happy to join you for coffee at The Daily Grind on Main St anytime.
Re the KKK remark from another reader, the KKK was historically known as the activist arm of the Democratic Party and most of its leadership were well known Democrats.
During my time in Washington D.C. I actually had a lunchtime interview which was published, with Mr. David Duke, former grand dragon of the KKK. While I was a Jew (before converting to the Catholic Church) who had an adopted black Vietnamese child, Mr. Duke was a perfect gentleman and certainly quite well educated and self proclaimed that he had, "hung up his sheets."
I do not subscribe to one singe position taken by the KKK, however if one looks closely into their history they feel it is best that racial groups do not live in close proximity to one another.
An anthropological look into the micro demographics of the affluent black community in Washington D.C. made up of high salaried Physicians, Attorneys and media personnel will show they live by their own choice in small racially distinct communities in Northwest and Southwest Washington, D.C. rather than moving into the Wisconsin Avenue neighborhoods they could easily afford. As a former executive of a national fundraising agency I can also say factually that this community usually contributes little to the historical Black Colleges and Universities.
It does in fact seem that people of similar racial makeups tend to congregate with one another on a voluntary basis.
It is not that the highly salaried and highly educated black professionals I speak of cannot afford to live anywhere that choose in Washington D.C. and in a city traditionally run by black politicians they are certainly not kept from moving into the traditionally elite Wisconsin Ave, Chevy Chase communities.
It seems a given that through all socioeconomic strata that people of similar ethnicities seem to choose to live together rather than be isolated in alien communities. This is true throughout most species, animal and human, just a fact of nature that liberal social engineers try to deny and change. God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Dec. 01 2013 06:22 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

The term sister/wife shows very poor form. Classical music lovers are supposed to be a better class of people. Shame.
Sorry I could not join this kerfuffle sooner. Computer died.

Nov. 29 2013 11:29 AM
Velvet from Royal Front, VA

Charles Fischbein:
You deserve a nasty pinch!

Good Speed!

Nov. 15 2013 12:58 PM
Atheist Meanie from Hell

I must have missed the who, what, where, when, and why of Junior High School journalism, but I cannot find any support for the idea that Bill deBlasio is a Marxist!
Or perhaps he is a mole! It makes you think!

Nov. 15 2013 09:55 AM
NYer from NYC

Outside agitators!
Where is Bull Connor when you need him?

Nov. 15 2013 12:59 AM
NYer from NYC

Isn't the Washington Times the Moonie paper?

Nov. 15 2013 12:28 AM
NYer from NYC

That's it. I will be selling my UWS condo and moving my family to the South! As a firm believer in Judeo-Christian values I can no longer raise my family in this cesspool of homosexuality and pornography.

Instead I will be relocating to the South, the birthplace of such important cultural contributions as chicken fried steak, snake handling, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Nov. 15 2013 12:25 AM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Silversalty, I never said you were a flunky, I had a response ready to send you but electricity went out throughout the town at 8 pm and did not come back on until 4 a.m.
Who/What/Where/when/Why, the five w's of journalism, you should have learned in Junior High School English.
Traditions are not mutually exclusive to a static state, they can be dynamic and change over long periods of time.
We should agree to disagree on this subject.
I could quote page after page of statistics and most likely you would not change your mind.
It is unfortunate that New York City has evolved into a liberal mecca, where socialist teachings are pervasive throughout the High School and City College system.
Late last year I had an offer to sell my sixty acre farm which I have owned for nearly thirty years.
I thought seriously about purchasing a co-op in Manhattan until I looked into the schools there.
My wife and I are helping my daughter raise her three Young children after a bad marriage.
I came to the conclusion that even in the most prestigious Manhattan private schools, liberal mind sets are burned into the children, with little or no time spent on teaching opposing philosophies.
That would have meant home schooling which would rob the children of daily interaction with peers. So for now at least we have decided to wait.
The corner stone of a liberal arts education is teaching opposing sides of an issue, but that is no longer the hallmark of even the best New York City Universities.
Homosexuality and pedophilia are behaviors that will be with us forever, and have a long sorted history.
The only thing that people who cherish family and Western Judeo Christian values can do is be sure that this minority lifestyle is not forced upon our children.
I have more faith in Mr. Putin to uphold traditional western Judeo Christian values than I do in the incoming socialist mayor of New York, and most certainly the present occupant of the White House.
This may be the right time for WQXR to close the post since it is veering way off track into an arena that listeners to this station do not have the political and sociological background to deal with in an open and nonjudgmental manner, and most seem to feel that homosexuality should become as mainstream as heterosexual marriage.
As far as your questioning my Journalist credentials, simply google my name. I published hundreds of articles in The Spotlight, and The Washington Times, as well as several University Middle East Journals.
I have been quoted in books written by former Congressman Paul Findley, Former Presidential speech writer Grace Halsall, and books by Mohammed Hakki, the former Egyptian Ambassador to The United States. I have spoken in Universities throughout the U.S.
I am not an expert on the pros or cons of expanding the homosexual lifestyle, just an informed American who weeps at the direction our most wonderful Cities and Universities have taken away from Judeo Christian ethics God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 12 2013 08:58 AM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

You can't use "tradition" as some sacred untouchable thing and then say it can change.

As for dates and specifics, I'm not your flunky. You claim to have been a journalist. You check and show me the quotes are wrong.

Nov. 11 2013 04:55 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Silversalty, your so called quotes fail to have references as to dates of publication, and with one exception the medium which carried the quotes.
They are useless without standard reference data.
As far as your reference to the Russian Orthodox Church, it like virtually all religious movements has evolved over the last several hundred years and its present leaders can not be indited for crimes of several hundred years ago.
Re the issue of removing children from same sex parent homes I do not doubt that Russia takes such steps.
There is a great deal of conflicting sociological data about the long term effects on children who grow up in same sex homes, as the practice is fairly new.
If you note, several recent Popes have washed the feet on gay men suffering from HIV, and most main stream western religions embrace gay men and women under the Agapestic ethic of Christian love for the sinner.
Yes some local independent churches do not follow step but they are in the minority.
This is straying far from the subject of present Russian attitudes towards gays.
One item that would be of great interest as I have previously mentioned is to hear from Mr. James Levine on this issue.
Since he shares the responsibilities for engaging artistic talent at The Met, one would think the would join in support of Russian gay's as Mr. Gelb has.
While Mr. Levine has every right to privacy, one can wonder why he is silent on this issue. God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 11 2013 04:43 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

Via a quick Google news search:

----------
"Traditional" family values:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/russian-gay-activists-plea-get-us-the-hell-out-of-here_b_3881059.html

"I had a horrible conversation with my daughter this morning," Gessen said. "I got the news of this bill while I was sending her off to school. I said, 'They've finally filed the bill.' Obviously we've talked about this at length in the family, and we expected something like this would show up. And she's 11. She sat there thinking. After about 15 minutes she said, 'Can I stay with my other mom if they take me away from you?' She can't grasp this, that they're trying to outlaw our whole family, that there isn't the option of going with one or the other."
----------

Of course when you take biological children from a gay (lesbian) couple you're supposedly defending "traditional family values." There's no harm there.

----------
A CBS story on the passing of the Russian anti-gay law.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57588738/russian-anti-gay-bill-passes-protesters-detained/

After the bill was given preliminary approval in January, lawmakers changed the wording of "homosexual propaganda" to "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," which backers of the bill defined as "relations not conducive to procreation."
----------

I had to laugh at the meaning of the change to the wording of the law. Obviously "propoganda" about contraception would also be illegal as well as any sexual activity that would not be conducive to procreation.

Hey! Maybe the Russian church could bring back castrati to help Gergiev with any opera's he'll conduct. The Russian church elders could bring back the practice of making young boys into castrati by the traditional method of regularly crushing the boy's balls with their hands. Totally not gay or sadistic. A Godly church practice. "Traditional" too.

Fox News Ignores Russia's Anti-Gay Crackdown, Winter Olympics Controversy
http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/08/07/report-fox-news-ignores-russias-anti-gay-crackd/195262

No surprise there. A "traditional" news value of suppressing news you don't like.

Re: Gergiev
http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/russian-composer-should-face-the-music-defending-anti-gay-law/112419

----------
Moreover, contrary to his protestations, he has defended Russia’s anti-gay law, reportedly falsely claiming that it is solely concerned with stopping paedophilia. The Dutch newspaper, Volkskrant, quoted him on 10 September as stating: “In Russia we do everything we can to protect children from paedophiles. This law is not about homosexuality, it targets paedophilia.”

This misrepresentation of homophobic legislation and blurring of homosexuality and child sex abuse crosses a red line.
----------

Loving your children does not make you a "paedophile."

Nov. 11 2013 02:46 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

If just ONE person posting here would provide ONE FACT, from an international news service such as Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters et al of JUST ONE official Russian policy to harm, fine or imprison just ONE gay man or woman for personal private behavior this discussion could end. Russian laws exist to protect the family from gays who wish to expand their life style throughout Russia.
I was going to stop posting but I must bring up the point that no one has any concrete evidence of the charges they make. You guys are like lemmings falling off a cliff, my sheep blindly following the lead ewe to the barn in lock step.
I am a Political Conservative, so naturally I should oppose virtually any Russian social policy, however it is easy to understand why the Russian people have passed laws to stop the gay community from attempting to expand their lifestyle choices to the general public.
Russia has followed the Clinton Era policy affirmed by Bush of a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
This is so frustrating, but it simply affirms my belief that New York City is so politically correct that it is impossible to affirm traditional American values without being labeled a raciest.
With the new Mayor who honeymooned in Cuba soon to take charge God only knows what will happen next in New York.
I was thinking of selling the farm and buying a CO OP in Manhattan, but do not want my grandchildren who I help raise, to be subjected to the political correctness running amuck in New York City. Even if sent to private schools the ultra liberal stranglehold throughout the City has become so strong no one can escape it. The only for a New York City child to be sheltered from the ultra liberal propaganda in the City is through home schooling or attending a religiously conservative private school and then the children will still have to interact with their friends and be exposed consistently to the ultra liberal philosophies of New York.
There is nothing wrong with representing both sides of an issue, that is what traditional liberal arts education once was doing, today a New York City education is a guarantee that those exposed to it will blindly follow the liberal socialist prescriptions for life and never have the chance to think for themselves without feeling like an outsider. It is quite sad indeed.
Think I just stay on the farm thank you.
By the way in the spirit of academic knowledge,it would be quite informative if WQXR would explore the opinions of James Levine on this matter. With Mr. Gelb and Mr Gergive speaking out strongly for gay rights the silence of Mr. Levine speaks volumes, especially with the whispers prevalent in the New York City opera community. God Speed, Charles Fischbein
A Happy Veterans Day for all who have fought for America and peace and respect for the families of those who have died for America.

Nov. 11 2013 01:32 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

LOL!

An opportunity for self-promotion.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14060984@N05/2814628300/in/set-72157607041296423

Yeah. It's allows been lickity-split easy for those persecuted in Russia/Soviet Union to leave and go to more welcoming places. Easy-peasy.

Pogroms. A blood-libel (a Russian invention I think) against the dear, God loving, rulers of Russia/Soviet Union.

Nov. 11 2013 12:25 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

I'm beginning to get a sense of astro-turfing here, though with some of the recent heavy commenters that's been implied for a while.

That "a proud GAY man" objects to demonstrations against persecution of gays seems more than a little counter intuitive. You can't object to people openly fighting (mainly a figurative term but considering Stonewall, most effective when literal) for your rights and then claim you're not "broadcast[ing]" your nature while getting married - something that never would have been possible without vocal, demonstrative calls for equality.

This is like an African-American objecting to the actions of Martin Luther King and other vocal and active supporters of equal rights.

WQXR has the IPs of posters. I wonder if there's a pattern that can be discerned.

Nov. 11 2013 12:16 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Silversalty, You make some very good points, however you fail to show any facts to back up your argument.
Re Pogrums in Russia, I am very familiar with their history as my Grandparents both fled Russia to escape them.
It is not too difficult today to gain permission to leave Russia and escape the so called Pogrums against gay men and women, however I do not hear of a flood of Russian gays willing to leave their homeland because of Government actions against them
In the pre Russian era of the late 1970's and early 1980's Soviet Jews fled Russia in droves to escape persecution, and they were a tiny minority of the Soviet population. If things are so bad in Russia where are the hundreds or thousands of gay men and women moving from Russia to America or other western nations.
If it is as bad as you say I think we would see and hear from many thousands of Russian gays coming to live in America.
You make some good points but none are based on facts except your remarks on slavery and past treatment of black Americans, which is not the point here and which most civilized men and women would agree with.
Of course no person should be punished or persecuted for skin color.
I will leave this issue now as I have a farm to run and a cello lesson to go to, hopefully all can get back to dealing with issues of music and not political discourse in an already badly fractured nation. God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 11 2013 12:02 PM
J.Y. Manhattan from New York City

I am a proud GAY man.
I have been in a relationship for six years and will be married to my partner this Spring.
I neither hide nor broadcast my relationship.
I do not feel that those people who engage in civil disruptions speak for the vast majority of gay's who go quietly about their every day life.
I would no sooner make a scene inside a concert or opera house as I would against a Catholic congregation where its Priest condemns homosexual behavior.
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and I believe that those men and women who publically display their sexual preferences bring disgrace upon gay men and women who are not prone to civil disobedience.

Nov. 11 2013 11:41 AM
John Stanley from Bronx, New York

While I am not an attorney, I am a para legal with years of Public Policy experience,I see nothing wrong with any posts here regarding violations of Public Radio policies with one exception.
I would also note that since Public Radio accepts federal funds they should be very careful in regards to censorship. Of course profanity and personal The post I speak of is from "bernie from UWS" referres to Mr. Fischbein's "wife/sister" a direct attack on someone simply because they live in rural America.
If that has not been removed I see no reason that WQXR should remove any other posts, the remark by "Bernie from UWS " is a direct personal attack and that should be removed at once.

Nov. 11 2013 11:32 AM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Websters definition of sexual perversion,
"Any means of getting sexual gratification that are deemed to be abnormal."
I assume I do not have to define "normal." when less than two percent of a countries population seeks sexual gratification in a manner in which the other 98.5 percent would not, that would not be considered normal, and would fit the definition of perversion. The use of the world is not a slur, just a factual observation.
As far as the black, white issue that is a straw man argument, no one here has ever said that it is morally right to punish someone because of the color of their skin.
People who are themselves "gay" of course do not feel that they are committing any improper acts, nothing that i have seen regarding this issues in The U.S. or Russia said that people do not have the right to privacy on their home, so long as this does not break any laws such as pedophilia.
The issue in the WQXR article is regarding those individuals who cause public disruptions when seeking to make their point.
While there are still some States where laws against homosexuality remain on the books i do not know of any current cases of prosecution against gays who are discreet and do not prey on minors.
In the same way in which anti war demonstrators have been arrested and jailed for disorderly actions, I see no reason why gays should seek a special dispensation from having to follow the same laws.
Both Peter Gelb, and Mr. Gergive have already affirmed their opinions that private relationships are beyond the reach of the state,and the Metropolitan Opera I am sure employees many fine gay actors and singers.
All the majority seeks is be free of blackmail from a tiny minority who wish to expand their way of life.
I am quite sure that no parent, gay or straight would be willing to parade their children down 7th and 8th Avenue in the time when the area was filled with xxx movie houses that were gathering centers for both homosexuals and heterosexuals.
When I attend the six or so operas I see every year at The Metropolitan I always get a chill when the lights dim and the chandeliers ascend to the ceiling, I pay a lot of money to travel to The Metropolitan Opera and seating is not by any means cheap. I have every right to expect civil behavior both before and during the Opera, and I applaud the security personnel at The Metropolitan Opera for their swift action on opening night in removing demonstrators as quickly as they did and restoring order.
Only an uncivilized brute could condone those demonstrations in a house of art and culture, and a conductor who has spent decades practicing his/her art should be able to have 100% focus on the job at hand and not be distracted by wondering who will be shouting and screaming next.
I am sure that those who support the demonstrators would be the first ones to complain if a cell phone went off during a performance.
God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 11 2013 11:18 AM
Scott Rose from Manhattan

Commenters referring to "homosexuals" as "perverts" and making veiled threats of violence against gay people and/or implying that gay people should be dealt with "harshly" and/or disingenuously equating homosexuals to pedophiles would appear to be violating WXQR's Terms of Use, which say this:

While we do not seek to limit expression of ideas, obscene, racist, homophobic, sexist, belligerent or sexually explicit language will not be tolerated on New York Public Radio Discussion Boards. New York Public Radio may delete any post that we deem to contain foul language or to be otherwise inappropriate without warning. In the case of repeated offenses, New York Public Radio retains the right to terminate your posting privileges.
We do not tolerate communications that may be unlawful or harmful to other New York Public Radio users. We do not tolerate Discussion Board posts that aim to insult anyone or are hateful, harassing or abusive.
By using the Service, you agree to abide by these rules. You acknowledge that New York Public Radio has the right to delete, edit or move material that it deems, in its sole discretion, to be in violation of the Rules of the New York Public Radio Discussion Boards or these Terms of Use, or which it otherwise, in its sole discretion, considers to be objectionable. You further acknowledge that New York Public Radio has the right to limit or terminate access to the New York Public Radio Discussion Boards for any reason, including violation of the Rules of the New York Public Radio Discussion Boards or Chat Forums or these Terms of Use.

Nov. 10 2013 09:17 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

"It is there [sic] right to be as they are, we just don't want them to force their ideas on others.["]

That's funny! Let's change the subject from gays to Africans. It's OK that their skin is dark, just don't try to force people (traditional Russians) to go to tanning salons!

Being gay isn't about having a right. That attitude alone is a misrepresentation of being gay, as if it's a choice rather than an innate aspect. It's the attitude that you can teach people to change their sexual preference. It's a lie and it makes the imparted sin on the person rather than on God, who made them that way. It's God's sin, if there can be such a thing, not the individual's. And it's not a sin, either by the person or by any God. It's part of nature, simply, and carries no basis for punishment.

No one could possibly force me to find a man attractive. Brad Pitt don't do it for me. But I could certainly be jolly with Jolie. Even in surprise, my behavior would likely be on the level of the character in "The Crying Game." I may find it difficult to understand how someone could find a man attractive, but then I don't think I could properly explain why I find the female form more attractive. It's not a reasoned preference. It cannot be talked away or even beaten away.

As for the other spurious arguments presented, there probably are videos of Russian politicians denigrating gays. There certainly are new laws that discriminate against gays. Laws passed by Russian politicians. There are videos of police beating demonstrating gays and supporters. The police act in accordance with the will of the political class. Even beyond that the worst videos show vigilante actions by sadistic people, acting supposedly in the name of God, severely beating gays.

The idea that one must have a "smoking gun" video of Putin beating an innocent gay person or any claim of oppression is invalid - is BS.

How many of the lynchings of Africans in America were visibly sanctioned by politicians, on scene? You know, in the picture postcards of black men hanging from trees with dozens of white people posing for the picture. It's as if "brown shirt" actions, which are not in any way countered by government, are any less an action by government. That's what's happening in Russia - besides the discriminating and denigrating laws.

But then it's "traditional" in Russian to do those sort of things. Pogroms are a fine tradition to be respected and perhaps even admired by us. How dare anyone suggest that maybe there's something wrong happening? It's tradition, just a variation on Fiddler on the Roof. Harmless, so long as it isn't being perpetrated on anything or anyone you care about.

Nov. 10 2013 08:47 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Thank you John, Putins words do not sound like hate speech to me, and they should put to rest the unfounded rumors of anti gay treatment and insane claims of gay "torture" in Russia.
If the gay community cannot find an ally in The Washington Post you know their claims of harsh gay treatment being an official policy in Russia are totally unfounded and based on lies.
It is time they hang "do not disturb" signs on their bedroom doors and stop annoying hard working, God trusting people throughout America and Russia.
Thank you so much for posting the exact words of Russian leaders.
God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 10 2013 01:40 PM
John Stanley from Bronx, New York

I have seen a lot of posts regarding the issue of Russian treatment of gays, but no one has posted the exact words of Russian officials on the issue.
According to The Washington Post,( an acknowledged liberal newspaper) Mr. Putin was quoted last month as saying, "They, (the West) are denying principals and traditional identities, national and cultural, religious and sexual" he said, "They are implementing politics that equate large families with same sex partnerships, beliefs in God with belief in Satan"
The Mayor of Sochi, the 2014 Olympic venue recently said, "We are a multi ethnic city, we respect each other, we respect different points of view" speaking of Gays he said, " It is there right to be as they are, we just don't want them to force their ideas on others.

Nov. 10 2013 01:25 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Typo, re times sq. should have said "and to stop the blatant abuses" in the Port Authority bus terminal," sorry, but needed to clarify.
By the way Rigoletto opens tomorrow night at The Met, and Verdi had a great deal of problems with Church and Austrian Government censors due to the story line from Victor Hugo's play which the Opera was taken from. Thank goodness the censors of that time were unsuccessful in their attempts to stop the Opera from being produced.
For those who suggest censoring opinions on some of today's pressing social issues, just think of what the world would have lost if the Church Austrian censors of Verdi's time were successful in their demands that Rigoletto should not have been produced.
The music and opera world would have lost a truely wonderful Opera that has a thrilling story line and one of the most frequently sung Italian songs, "Le donna e mobile", just think of that every time you want to quash opinions you do not agree with, especially those which do not have their genesis on The Upper West Side of Manhattan God Speed, Charles Fischbein, Front Royal, Va

Nov. 10 2013 08:59 AM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Dear Scott Rose, we live in a country where freedom of expression is allowed, even from outside of New York City.
You may also note that the FCC requires broadcast radio and television stations to operate in the public interest, banning diverse opinions on a public forum set up by a station might well violate the FCC license requirements so long as they did not contain profanity. Even NPR allows for diverse opinions from non liberal sources.
Mr. Gergive is a world class conductor and a national treasure inside Russia, and in much the same way as our President invites hip hop performers to The White House, Mr.Putin has been seen in national events in Russia with Maestro Gergive, only Maestro Gergive is by no means a criminal like some frequent hip hop visitors to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
When Mayor Juliuani was elected in New York City, one of his first tasks was to shut down the public smut houses and xxx movie shows that were magnets for both gay and heterosexual perverts, that surrounded 42nd. St and Times Sq. and to up the blatant sexual abuses that took place publicly at New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal which had become a haven for sexual perverts to prey on teen aged travelers.
A family could not children to walk in that area of New York City without being exposed to pornography displayed in windows up and down 7th and 8 Ave.
Mr. Putin is taking preemptive positions before those who wish to have public displays of their sexual preferences displayed throughout Russian cities, and he should be congratulated for such a pro family stance.
Not one person in this string has yet provided one piece of evidence proving physical punishment and jail sentences are given in Russia to gays who are discreet in their actions.
For those who disrupt public performances yes, there can be prison sentences, however here in the U.S.A. we also can jail citizens for disorderly conduct, something I feel should have been done to those who disrupted the Met. performance on opening night.
How, did you come up with saying a 30 second disruption should be condoned? Why not 45 seconds, or 60 seconds, or three minutes. Rather arbitrary would you not say? Why not allow bomb threats to be phoned in
so an entire performance could be cancelled? Your argument is just the tip of a very slippery slope.
Finally, is it not interesting how silent Maestro James Levine has been on the whole controversy? The well known music critic and Julliard graduate Greg Sandow has written an interesting article which can be found on the internet on just that subject. God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 09 2013 07:55 PM
Scott Rose from Manhattan

Elsewhere, Maestro Gergiev has spoken in favor of the harsh, prison labor camp sentences given to two members of Pussy Riot for their participation in a protest of Putin's government, which protest lasted only 30 seconds inside a church. It is impossible for me to remain neutral about a conductor who spoke in favor of young women being sentenced to prison labor camps for a 30 second long political protest. The punishment does not fit the crime, and the support of the punishment is approval of barbaric, dictatorship conditions.

Nov. 09 2013 05:15 PM
Scott Rose from Manhattan

Why is WQXR leaving the commenter Charles Fischbein's defamatory anti-gay comments posted here?

Nov. 09 2013 05:04 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Bey, you comment caused me to do some research, as a retired journalist i know how to dig out a story. I could not find ONE documented case of Gay's in Russia being "kidnapped or tortured." by the Government. Please back up your statement with facts and show one documented case by main line newspapers, wire services, Embassy reports or police reports of there being an official policy in Russia to "torture and kidnap gay's"
I would not deny that aggressive gay men leave themselves open to physical reprisals by heterosexual men, especially if they throw themselves at unwilling men or flirt openly with them in bars or even at the work place.
Putin has made it clear that the laws he has signed exist to protect the family structure in Russia and also to insure that Russian Gay men cannot adopt children. The question of gay adoption is one that is highly controversial even in psychiatric Journals in The United States.
A sovereign government has every right to protect its citizens from antisocial behavior.
One final point, while Peter Gelb made a statement supporting gay rights prior to the season opening night festivities at The Metropolitan Opera, James Levine, was strangely silent on the subject. I wonder why?
Since the FCC requires that radio stations prove they can serve the public interest, I would like to see if WQXR would be willing to look into the behavior of some of the Metropolitan Operas highest profile personalities and either confirm or deny the rumors that continue to surround them to this day and stop attacking Mr. Gergive. God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 09 2013 12:53 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va

Bey, I never equated gays to pedophiles, please read carefully.
There have been many unsubstantiated allegations regarding the behavior of a long time high ranking person in a leadership role at The Metropolitan Opera.
I simply asked if gay rights advocates would support pressuring the Metropolitan Opera to release factual information about this persons alleged behavior.
I agree that most pedophiles are drawn to children of the opposite sex, but the rumors rampant throughout the Opera community about this individual specifically state that the person has had dealings with young boys.
I would never mention names because the allegations have never been substantiated, but rumors persist to this day about the inappropriate actions of this person and the Metropolitan Opera's role in keeping the story from public view.
I agree that statistically pedofelia is not dominent in the gay community and never siad it was. I suggest you read the post carefully and do not put words in my mouth. God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 08 2013 05:28 PM
ardath_bey

Now we're supposed to feel sorry for Gergiev, the poor guy's in a "difficult situation". The only people in a difficult situation are the thousands of gays in Russia being kidnapped and tortured. I support these protests and I hope they continue as disruptively as possible, anything calling attention to hatred and bigotry is valid. Gergiev's statements are a step forward but weak. He might not a homophobe himself but he supports Vlad The Impaler Putin who's doing anything in his power to return Russia to the dark ages.

And people on this board equating gays to pedophiles should be ashamed of themselves, and so should WQXR for allowing these freaks to spew their daily hatred on their website in the year of 2013. There's no scientific evidence connecting homosexuality to pedophilia, as a matter of fact most pedophiles are straight.

Nov. 08 2013 02:52 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

When this issue was first posted on WQXR's site I wrote a post that didn't blame the two particulars mentioned then (Gergiev and Netrekbo) for exactly the reasons mentioned by a poster - the "Mafia" like nature of the Russian government. Since then it's been noted that Gergiev is a supporter of Putin. If he were as noncommittal about Putin as he is about the rights of those persecuted by Putin's government then maybe I'd still feel that way. But I don't. Gergiev is trying to save his skin and the large income he gets in the West. Believing that he's concerned about gays in his orchestra (if there are any that aren't deeply buried "in the closet") seems a great stretch of assumed benevolence.

Nov. 08 2013 11:47 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Looks like WQXR is trying to stir things up again! The "Month of Mozart" must be getting boring, so they decided to have a "Trash Valery Gergiev and the LSO Month" instead.

Nov. 08 2013 10:21 AM
Anonymous from Lower Manhattan

For those who accuse Mr. Gergiev of being an ass-kisser, try putting yourself in his position and try imagining living in a regime like Putin's. If Gergiev protests against Putin and it's all over the media, you know what's going to happen? That's right, not only Gergiev will lose his job, so will the gay musicians in his orchestra. Everything is not so simple, folks! Gergiev is doing a great job promoting his orchestra,they sound fantastic, and all musicians benefit from this success, gay or straight. There are more effective ways to support the discriminated ones in a regime like Putin's, than just simply declaring it! It is so easy for us Americans to sit in our comfy living rooms, and criticize other people when we know so little about their situation and their society.

Nov. 08 2013 10:07 AM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

Gergiev's statement seems pretty weak and far from support for gay rights / equal rights. I'm surprised he didn't finish with ".. and some of my best friends are fags." Gergiev claims he never "supported anti-gay legislation" yet nowhere does he condemn the legislation. You can't claim the "artist" role if, as a famous artist, you've provided political support to politicians furthering discrimination.

The protests are working but Gergiev is just one person. The problem is the rise of fascist elements in Russia, so protests and boycotts have to be directed at both individuals who condone the oppression of gays - famous people like Gergiev, and Russia as a whole, as the Russian vodka boycott represents. It isn't just about gays. It's the rise of hate as a political force in Russia.

People who are concerned about the issue should boycott the London Symphony Orchestra. Gergiev should be dumped. Let him work in Russia so his ass kissing can be up close and personal - and not gay.

Nov. 07 2013 10:12 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va

Bernie, "Humanistic ideals" call in part for compassion of and understanding for others and their divergent points of view.
I never put myself up as a "humanist" however as someone who seemingly espouses the basics of humanism, where do you get off justifying personal attacks on you fellow "humans' whose political opinions may differ from yours.
I would love to read the current FCC filings of WQXR, and see if part of their mission statement is to expand the "Humanistic ideals" of Thomas More.
Lets not be hypocritical, if you cannot follow the basics of the philosophy you adhere to, I suggest you find another philosophy that fits with your personal attacks. Try a philosophy of destruction and dictatorship like the Germans experimented with in the 1930' and 1940's, look what that philosophy of personal destruction cost human kind. Where do you fit in Bernie? God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 07 2013 06:53 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Bernie, I missed you for the coffee I offered you last Friday when I was in New York.
I wont be back till Feb, deer gun season opens here and I hunt, but not for my family, for charity as my son and I donate the deer we kill to the Mountaineer Food Bank.
If you never saw the look on the faces of hungry people who know they can fill their freezers for the winter, you have no idea what a joy it is to help others.
But like some folk in New York you seem content to sit in you UWS ghetto and look down on others.
I was born on West 72nd St and went to one of the finest New York Prep Schools on 54st and Fifth Ave.and hold a masters in Conflict Resolution.
Unlike you I do not hide behind a first name only, feel free to google the work I did in the Middle East as a correspondent, and published nationally on a wide variety of issues.
Music is an art form that should transcend political boundaries.
When gays protest, they act like the censors who forced Verdi, Puccini and Bellini and other opera composers to change the locations their operas were set in so as not to offend the Kings and patrons.
I feel Public Radio should be just that Public and not a medium that preaches to the choir.
Let's simply agree we disagree and keep the personal attacks out of this site.
As someone who states they are well educated like you, tolerance of opposing views should be a hallmark of a such an education.
I would never think of asking anyone to remove your writing or to personally attack you for what you write, that is the mark of a civilized person.
By the way I believe it was Sir Winston Churchill, ( whose bust by the way Obama removed from the oval office his first day in the White House) who said, ( If a man is not a liberal when he is young, he has no heart, if he is not a Conservative in old age he has no mind." ( slight paraphrase, but get the drift) Where do you fit?
It is far better to keep the topic on music and why concerts should not be interrupted for political gains whether right or left.
I wonder how those who support the gay rights groups who interupt Operas would feel if those opposing pedofelia suddenly showed up in front of the Metropolitan Opera and asked for a full investigation about the alleged activities and alleged arrest records of one of its top executives? God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 07 2013 05:20 PM
Bernie from UWS

Here goes Mr. Southerner again, spouting about how great things are down in the backwoods where God and Guns are the way of the land. Maybe his sister/wife put him up to it but these redneck attitudes don't belong on a website devoted to culture and humanist ideals. I hope WQXR clamps down on this kind of hate speech.

Nov. 07 2013 04:37 PM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

It could not have been said better, Maestro Gergive should be left alone now. I am sure that throughout his career he has had professional dealings with homosexuals in both his Orchestra's and onstage in various roles of the Operas he conducts, and unlike some other conductors at The Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Gergive is not the subject of rumors and innuendos of his affairs with young boys.
No one man can and should be held accountable for the actions of his/her country.
If Gergive has close relationships professionally with Mr. Putin, he does so in much the same way as American entertainers visit the White House.
In recent years our President has played host to a number of hip hop (God forbid) so called "artists" who have physically abused their spouses or girl friends and have had major drug, and illegal firearms violations in their recent pasts. That does not mean that he personally endorses their activity, (although with Obama who knows?)
I guess the homosexual perverts have little else to do with their lives than disrupt events that audience members pay dearly to see and hear performed.
These people should learn how to behave in public.
I know that outside a few major Northeast U.S cities and parts of California where the gays seem to congregate and live, the average hard working American is sick and tired of hearing about gays interrupting entertainment and commercial activities. As someone who has lived over thirty years in rural southern America I can assure you that these instigators would not dare show up in small towns where the vast majority of the citizens would deal with them in a much harsher way than in major urban areas already sensitized to their juvenile outbursts.
I invite them to show up in Appalachian region and learn what the consequences of their behavior would be.
They only protest in venues where they know they will be protected by liberal City Councils, and local police whose hands are tied when dealing with their disruptive outbursts.
With the new Marxist Mayor soon to be controlling New York City I am sure we will see and hear much more from these misfits screaming their causes and disrupting artistic endeavors throughout the City. God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Nov. 07 2013 03:11 PM

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